On Wednesday night, left-leaning TV anchor Jim Lehrer of government-supported PBS will moderate the first 90-minute presidential debate in Denver. The forum will focus on domestic policy. Lehrer alone will determine the topics and questions for six 15-minute segments, and then he will control an "open discussion" for each segment.
We know the liberal media bias drill: Make the Republican candidate look like a scary extremist on social issues and a greedy capitalist pig on economic issues. Avoid the Democratic incumbent's record of failure. Run out the clock. Thank you and good night.
Here's my starter list of domestic policy debate topics and related questions that should be asked, but probably won't be. Lapdog media, please go ahead and prove me wrong:
—Border security/homeland security. On Tuesday morning, one Border Patrol agent was gunned down and another wounded at our southern border in Naco, Ariz. The agents were assigned to the station recently named after Brian Terry, the heroic Border Patrol agent shot and killed nearly two years ago by drug cartel thugs wielding weapons tied to the Operation Fast and Furious scandal.
After the Obama administration initially denied that U.S. Border Patrol agents were forced to fire on criminal attackers with non-lethal ammo, court records obtained by the Arizona Daily Star showed that Terry and our front-line protectors were indeed under deadly standing orders to use beanbag rounds before using live ammunition.
In December, the Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General reported that Border Patrol agent "training, deployed weapons, and rules of engagement have not kept pace with the increased violence on the border." Over the past five years, the IG found, "(v)iolence has significantly increased against Border Patrol agents. Since 2007, assaults on agents have risen more than 35 percent, including 13 deaths."
Is the beanbag order still in place today?
Why has the Terry family been forced to file a federal lawsuit to obtain justice?
If the buck stops at the top, why does Attorney General Eric Holder still have a job after years of official DOJ obstruction and falsehoods during the Fast and Furious investigations?
And as commander in chief, what exactly are you doing to ensure that the men and women currently assigned to protect our borders are adequately armed and fully supported in their mission to defend American sovereignty and homeland security?
—Integrity in government. You famously declared, "A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency." Yet, the very first act of your administration was to violate your transparency pledge to allow full, public viewing of all legislation five days before you signed it.
In fact, the White House didn't even post the very first bill you signed — the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Act — until after you signed it.
You failed to televise health care negotiations as promised. You cut endless backroom deals protected from public scrutiny. In addition, your administration has routinely evaded disclosure law by meeting with lobbyists off the books at D.C.-area coffee houses and private townhouses, where Secret Service background checks and login routines are abandoned.
In August, House GOP investigators unearthed communications at the Department of Energy urging officials to use their personal email accounts instead of government accounts to discuss the massive Solyndra green loan failure — to protect themselves from subpoenas.
And last week, Bloomberg News reported that 19 out of 20 cabinet-level agencies under your administration have failed to follow the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. "During the first year of the administration," the news service found, "cabinet agencies employed exemptions 466,402 times, a 50 percent jump from the last year of the presidency of George W. Bush." Those exemptions remain at levels higher than Bush.
How, exactly, can you claim to have run the most transparent administration ever based on your actual record?
—Auto bailout. Your campaign touts the "success" of the government takeover of the auto industry as one of your proudest accomplishments. In 2010, you bragged that "American taxpayers are now positioned to recover more than my administration invested in GM, and that's a good thing."
Yet, your Treasury Department won't take up GM's recent offer to repurchase 200 million of the roughly 500 million shares the U.S. holds — because it would incur a $15 billion loss to taxpayers right before the election. GM still owes nearly $30 billion of the $50 billion it received, and its lending arm still owes nearly $15 billion of the more than $17 billion it received. Foreign workers and overseas plants have soaked up billions of American bailout tax dollars. But some 20,000 Delphi non-union workers saw their pensions eroded and health benefits disappear as part of the deal you cut with United Auto Workers.
How are Delphi workers, bondholders, car dealers and taxpayers better off now than they were before the Government Motors bailout given the actual record? If this is your proudest accomplishment, why on earth would reality-based voters want you back in the driver's seat?
Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies" (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is [email protected]